I try to watch and emulate others and you probably do the same. There is a lot of confusion, particularly with B2B, regarding how to implement social selling. Our hope is that these folks will inspire those of you are still on the fence and our goal is to share with you some of the best proven selling practices that you might wish to emulate!
Today we are joined by Richard Young of Bullhorn CRM. Richard takes the mystery out of social selling by consistently demonstrating key elements including …
- A desire to share, educate, and to promote others
Could you please tell our readers a little about you?
I work within the CRM community and helped to establish the market in the UK back in the 90s. I’m currently at Bullhorn International offering advice to prospects on how to make CRM succeed and utilize it to grow their businesses.
How about telling them a little bit about your business?
Bullhorn is a 700+ employee company with revenues over $100 million. We specialize in CRM for professional service firms – those that rely on relationships and deliver services. We do this with our 3rd generation CRM that automatically captures your data for you and implements a concept we call radical transparency.
For me a CRM solution that can self-build is the next evolution.
How did you get started in selling and when did you begin adding social selling to your business?
Originally I held technical positions (CTO for GoldMine UK) but had to start doing sales when I started my own CRM consulting firm. A reluctant sales person if you will. I quickly found that the consultative/collaborative approach to sales naturally suited me – I solved problems. This lead me to CompuServe forums where I helped people with problems and landed some very large accounts as a result (think big tech and big banks).
CompuServe was great at creating communities/tribes of people. This is what social business evolved into and is still key to my strategy today. Ask yourself this – what tribes to I belong to? What tribes should I belong to?
What are your social selling goals, objectives, and strategies?
I don’t have any specific social selling goals or objectives as I see this is just a natural part of the modern sales persons tool kit. In terms of strategy I particularly like the concept of Visible Expert (from Hinge Marketing). This can start small, through networking, and grow to something much larger. The concept leverages social to make your audience larger and for yourself to become more visible. In this way people will actively approach you for best practice in your field.
Do you have regular routines?
Absolutely, I make a habit of retweeting my customers and prospects. I strive to connect with multiple people within an organization via Twitter and LinkedIn. I also engage in a number of Facebook groups for B2B, this is proving more and more rewarding as other platforms slow down.
I also actively reach out beyond my “regular” network to connect with people. This brings in fresh ideas and can lead to surprising collaborations.
How do you integrate social selling with traditional selling methodologies?
Tools like BufferApp and Inoreader are great for scheduling and finding content to push out that is relevant to your audience. These help me to keep a consistent level of useful information published and ensures I’m active, even if onsite with prospects for a few days. I then supplement this with direct messages. In particular I leverage LinkedIn (and Bullhorn’s Market Intelligence) to understand the make-up of an organization and who the ultimate decision makers are likely to be.
This all supplements the traditional sales activities such as calling into people. The difference is that I understand them and their business much better than a simple cold call.
How do you manage to stand out from the noise?
Quality of content offered, engaging directly with people. You’d be surprised at how many people just publish (inconsistently) and don’t have a direction for their content. When writing content I’m thinking about a specific organization or person. I’ll then use that content as an introduction point or to stay in touch.
This is focused and directed rather than a random scatter gun approach.
Could you please share with us a few of your favorite social selling tools?
BufferApp and Inoreader are great tools. I use native apps for the social platforms a great deal as well. However, what you need to bear in mind is that the idea of Social is to turn those digital relationships into real relationships. Best social tool is a Gin & Tonic in my book.
How do you track your results?
I track the results through Bullhorn CRM – I have target accounts and active opportunities. Ultimately this is about revenue generation, even if it takes a while. Beyond this I also track engagements, opportunities arising, conversations being had etc.
What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing salespeople as it pertains to social selling?
It’s often seen as a short term fix – it isn’t it’s a long sales cycle are you’re engaging early in the sales cycle. This is good as you’re getting to help define the requirements.
There’s also a lack of strategy, it’s not good enough to simply throw out some tweets or connect to a few people on LinkedIn – what’s the attack plan? Why are we doing this? What are the steps needed?
Content – you need high quality content. That aligns both sales and marketing with its messaging.
What about their biggest mistake that salespeople make when trying to implement social selling?
They try to pitch on the 1st engagement – connect on LinkedIn and the next thing you know is you have a sales pitch message.
What is your “social selling superpower”?
I’m not really sure that I have a “superpower”. I don’t see that I do anything that’s magical – it’s just hard work, you need to consistently work at it.
How can our readers get in touch with you to learn more?
Happy to connect on Twitter @Richard_Y or email email@example.com and also happy to take calls on +44 7768 876221.
Please nominate somebody to answer these same questions!
I’d like to hear how Tamara Schenk works it!